Summer Swaps

Food

I am the kind of person that LIVES for summer. With Memorial Day just around the corner… I am so looking forward to weekends full of laying by the pool during the day and bonfires with friends at night! Of course, these days come with a LOT of food & drinking as well.

As much as I love all the unhealthy snacks that come with summer, I don’t always love the way they make me fee. In honor of Memorial Day, here are my 8 tricks I use during the summer to make these pool days a bit healthier!

  1. Check Your Drink: I love a sugar filled cocktail… but it’s not ideal for a pool day. When you know you’ll be lounging all day swap your usual beer or cocktail for something lower in calories, carbs, and sugar. SOCIAL Sparkling Wine is perfect for these days! 88 calories and 4 grams of carbs makes it THE cleanest option when it comes to alcohol. It’s also light & refreshing, and won’t leave you feeling bloated and gross!
  • Eat Before: I feel like I always end up at a mid-day pool party having skipped breakfast or lunch in preparation for all the snacks I know our friends will bring! Now, I try to make an effort to eat a balanced meal before heading to these events. Filling up on a protein, some greens, and some healthy carbs before heading out of the house helps make sure I reach for the snacks less.
Close-up of Salad in Plate
  • Swap the Chips: Did you know carrots and celery taste just as good dipped in guac & salsa as tortilla chips? Now, I’m not saying you need to ditch the chips all together… but maybe go 70/30 when it comes to veggies & chips that you’re using to eat all those dips! Not only is it healthier because it’s lower in carbs, but the less salt you eat on these days, the better you will feel.
  • Watch Your Fruit: Stick to some low-sugar fruit options. Strawberries, peaches, and blackberries are great options. You’re most likely already consuming sugar through your beverage (even though with SOCIAL it won’t be a ton 😉 ) So be sure to not add in excessive amounts elsewhere.
Sliced Fruits on Tray
  • Move Around: This is probably advice I need to take more often myself LOL. I know it is so tempting to just lay in the sun or on your donut shaped pool float all day… but if your friends start up a game of Frisbee or Bags, get in on the action! Even moving around for 15 minutes is good for your body!
  • Bring the Snacks: Offer to bring a few snacks for the group! This way you know there will be something you can munch on without feeling guilty, and I am sure your group will appreciate the healthier options! Hummus with veggies, salsa, and guac is a great crowd pleaser. Or, show of your fancier side with these mozzarella and tomato skewers!
Assorted Vegetable Dishes on White Plate
  • Ditch the Bun: Load up your burger with lettuce, tomato, guac, cheese… just ditch the bun! After a day spent lounging in the sun those heavy carbs won’t make you feel so great. Protein is most likely what your body needs at this point in the day.
Image result for burger lettuce wrap
  • Don’t Stress It: If all else fails, try to use a few of these tips… but don’t ruin a fun day spent relaxing & enjoying beverages over trying to be 100% health conscious! Hey- that’s what Sunday morning spin class is for right? 😉

If I had to choose one of these as the most important, it would be the first one, hands down! Watching your drinks is so important. Once I realized that drinking 3 of my favorite ciders on a pool day was the equivalent amount of carbs to eating 3 bagels I knew I had to find a new option! It’s crazy how quick those carbs & sugar add up during a summer day.

So, my one piece of advice, check out SOCIAL here for a great, low calorie, low carb drink option to help you get through pool party and BBQ season! & trust me… you will not be sacrificing taste 😉

Gluten Free Snacks

Food

It’s officially Celiac Awareness Month, and as someone who is FINALLY feeling like myself after a life of not knowing why I just never felt well… it’s time to not only spread awareness, but celebrate over 3 years of being gluten free myself!

If you know me, you know I snack ALL. DAY. LONG. At first, finding gluten free snacks (that weren’t a fruit or vegetable) was a struggle for me! However, I have found my tried and true favorites. Some are super healthy, some are just copy-cats of some gluten-filled favorites! Here they are (click on the photos to head to their website):

Aldi Gluten Free Granola & Yogurt Parfaits– Speaks for itself. Aldi sells this ‘Live G-Free’ brand granola at all its locations.

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Lifes Grape– This is a newer product that I found while browsing #GlutenFree on Instagram (no judging pls). These are ‘vine dried grapes’ or raisins, packed with nutrients! I am a big fruit snack girl… and these crave my sweet cravings. They come in original, dark chocolate, and minis. Life’s Grapes sent me an assortment of their new flavors to try and honestly, I can’t pick a favorite!

Image result for life's grape

Goodie Girl Cookies– I first found these at Starbucks, and have been in love ever since. They don’t even taste gluten free! Goodie Girl shared their animal crackers with me… and oh my gosh, they are so good! Even my gluten-loving fiance couldn’t tell the difference!

Apple & Justin’s Cinnamon Almond Butter– This almond butter flavor is SO good I could literally just eat it straight! This is one of my go-to mid-workday snacks.

NutThins– Can’t go wrong with a good cheese & crackers moment! I will actually often eat this as my lunch with some veggies & hummus. #AdultLunchable

From The Ground Up Snacks– Ok… here me out… cauliflower crackers. I promise they taste WAY better than they sound! These crackers come in your childhood favorite flavors… cheddar, nacho, pizza, & sea salt. 80 pieces only contain 100 calories & 18g carbs. Even better, they are also available on Amazon Prime. You can also use promo code: 20MAYSNACKS for 20% off.

Are there any other amazing GF Snacks I must try?! Comment below or on Insta and let me know… I’m always down 2 snack.

Coffee Shop Tour

Food

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I love a good coffee shop (and apparently I use the same caption every time… see photos below lol)! I do love my Starbucks, but honestly the best coffee around doesn’t come from this kind of chain. Below I am sharing some of my favorite coffee shops from the Chicago ‘burbs!

  • Sparrow Coffee: Hands down, my favorite. This place is so good, and the inside is one of the cutest coffee shops ever. It’s a refreshing addition to the chain-filled streets of Downtown Naperville!
    • My Order: Nonfat Caramel Latte (hot or iced) (in a ‘for-here’ cup, so they do the cute design of course.

 

  • Krema Coffee: This was such a neat addition to downtown Plainfield. Krema has a book/reading nook and the comfiest spots to camp out to work.
    • My Order: Flat White

 

  • Two Brothers: My favorite place to work! You’ve most likely heard of their beer, but their coffee is even better! Best part- free refills and my fav. breakfast!
    • My Order: Regular Coffee & A Bacon Egg & Cheese breakfast bowl

  • Calibre Coffee: This is in the South Barrington Arboretum, and the perfect stop for a coffee while shopping. I love their patio!
    • My Order: Iced Vanilla Latte

  • Brewpoint Coffee: Cutest little shop off of the Wheaton train stop… AND Gluten Free muffins!
    • My Order: Regular Iced Coffee & a GF Muffin

  • Endiro: Guys, saving one of the best for last. I ignored this place for FOREVER. It’s in the heart of downtown Aurora, which isn’t somewhere I go often… but it is amazing. The best almond milk latte ever (and its HUGE), amazing tea, and their food is great.
    • Caramel Almond Milk Latte & a Bacon, Sausage & Cheese breakfast sandwich on gluten free bread

Birthday Cake

Food

Well, it’s officially time for my quarter life crisis… I am 25!

I’m celebrating the only way I know how… CAKE. Being gluten free, I have been seriously deprived of birthday cakes the last few years (so sad).

I was so excited to find The Vegan Knife on Amazon… I bought one of her chocolate cake mixes right away. It was SO good. The Vegan Knife generously sent me one of their newer flavors, Birthday Cake, to review for my birthday!

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First off, how cute is this packaging?! It reminds me of my childhood. Also- I’m convinced everything tastes better when the package is cute… (wine especially)!

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I loved this cake flavor, it was so easy to make (just add milk, oil & vanilla!) and did not even taste gluten free! I was especially glad to see it didn’t require a stand mixer to make like many cake mixes.

And, LOOK how fluffy they are!! They actually rose up while baking, instead of coming out flat and sad like some GF cake mixes!

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The birthday cake flavor paired perfectly with a lemon cream frosting. I am sure it would have been just as delish as a cake.. or with chocolate frosting!

Other flavors include chocolate, vanilla spice and cinnamon sugar donut mix.

If you’re gluten free, vegan… or just want to support an amazing small business check out The Vegan Knife here on Instagram and here on Amazon Prime.

Smoothie Bowls

Food

Scroll to the bottom for my fav. smoothie recipe and a link to Lil Bucks.

In the last year, I have been on a total smoothie kick for breakfast or lunch!

I always try to include protein, fiber, fat, and some greens in my smoothies. (Thanks Kelly Leveque!)

Recently, I came across a new small-business in Chicago, Lil Bucks! These are mini sprouted buckwheat pieces that are perfect toppers for smoothie bowls, or used in place of granola on yogurt! ‘Lil Bucks are super high fiber and protein… and are gluten free!

I was lucky enough to receive all three flavors… and it is SO hard to pick a favorite! For my chocolate protein smoothies I have been loving the Cacao flavor. The Matcha is great on top of some greek yogurt!

Here is a recipe for my favorite morning smoothie/smoothie bowl to keep me full all the way until lunch!

Breakfast Smoothie

  • Half of one frozen banana
  • Almond milk- I normally eyeball the measurements for this, add more for a smoothie, less for a smoothie bowl
  • Handful of spinach
  • 2 scoops of chocolate peanut butter protein powder
  • 1 tbs chia seeds
  • 1 tbs almond butter

Blend all ingredients, and top with some ‘Lil Bucks and fruit to add some crunch.

‘Lil Bucks can be purchased directly from their website here, or on Amazon Prime here!

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe? Share in the comments or on my most recent IG post- I am always looking for new, delish ways to start my morning!

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